Wanted: Volunteers to Get Butts Kicked

An Idaho engineering firm wants volunteers to test out a butt-kicking machine.

Leavitt & Associates Engineers (search) Inc., of Nampa needs some firm bottoms for research on its "Manually Self-Operated Butt-Kicking Machine," reports the Idaho Statesman.

"We were in a meeting and someone said we needed a device that would let a client kick our butts," company head J. Reese Leavitt explained to the newspaper. "I sketched out a drawing and sent it around the room."

Leavitt's firm normally designs industrial plants, bridges and commercial buildings, but the butt-kicking idea grew rapidly into an official schematic diagram detailing a "size 15 steel-toed boot filled with concrete for impact."

"We changed that to a red high-top tennis shoe, which seemed appropriate since engineers are nerds and would likely wear something like that," said Leavitt. "It's the most expensive part. It was $40 at Foot Locker."

The firm spent about $250 on parts, and will put another $300 toward a patent application.

"Groups can use this to put someone dressed up like, say, Usama bin Laden, and charge $1 to kick his butt," office manager Sandy Burmeister told the newspaper.

No, Not That Milwaukee

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — What began as an early-morning fare became a 2,300-mile odyssey for taxi driver Mark Forbes, according to The Herald of Everett.

Forbes, 62, picked up two men at about 5:30 a.m. April 10. Neither had any luggage.

The taller man asked to go to a Sikh temple near Seattle, about 25 miles south. He said both were from India and that his friend spoke little English.

After they'd gone a few miles, the passenger said they instead wanted to visit his brother in Milwaukie, a Portland suburb about 200 miles down Interstate 5.

About 15 minutes later, catching a glimpse of the downtown Seattle skyline (search), the passenger asked, "What city is that?" Forbes identified it for them.

Along I-5 Forbes introduced himself and they did the same. Hearing him trying to pronounce their names, the tall man suggested he be called "Tony Blair" and the other man "Joe."

Once they got to Portland, the passengers used Forbes' cell phone to call the brother for directions.

"Are there two Milwaukees?" the one called "Blair" asked.

"Yes," Forbes said. "There's another Milwaukee. In Wisconsin."

"How much for you to take us there?"

He asked for $3,000, and the two agreed, saying they'd pay in cash.

Forbes then called his dispatcher and told her his new destination.

"Have fun," she said, then hung up and immediately called the FBI.

With a $500 down payment, Forbes filled his tank and bought a road atlas, some junk food and bottled water.

Without much of a radio and no tape deck, the three talked about the passing scenery, towns, even crop rotation. They spent six hours sleeping by the side of the highway, and one night at a motel.

When they finally got to Milwaukee the evening of April 12, half a dozen friends and relatives greeted the men and profusely thanked the driver. The brother of "Blair" paid the balance of the fare, $2,500, in $50 and $100 bills.

Forbes ended up speaking with FBI agents from Milwaukee, Seattle and Chicago, but the feds found nothing amiss.

"For $3,000 I'd take them to Wisconsin," FBI agent Ray Lauer joked in Seattle.

Before Forbes headed home, he bought a ticket for a friend to fly east and took her on a leisurely drive past Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

"When I look back at it, it was one of those cab rides that you think about, but you never realize it's going to come true," Forbes said.

Cat Crosses Country in Piece of Furniture

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Lilly didn't see any of her two-week cross-country trip from Tarrytown, N.Y., to Reno.

The 2-year-old Siamese cat disappeared in New York on April 20 after movers showed up to pack the belongings of Henry Leonard and Vicki Plechner.

"We were just sick. She was a little kitten when we got her," Leonard, 72, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

They searched everywhere for their cat and put up reward signs around the neighborhood before they left for Reno. They even checked some of their boxes before they were moved.

"We tried everything," the retired chiropractor said.

Last Wednesday night, a worker took the last piece of furniture off the truck. When he opened a drawer to get a grip, there was Lilly.

"We were dumbfounded, speechless," Leonard said. "You'll never find two more happier people."

Leonard said Lilly didn't move much that first night.

"We got her a little water and some baby food," he said. "Then she came around. Now she's fine, running around and purring.

"She's just a little Siamese. And we love her," he said.

Dog Calls Police

OSLO, Norway (AP) — An emergency services switchboard couldn't understand a word the caller was saying, so they sent a crew to investigate.

There was nothing wrong with Raia, apart from being a puppy. Barking into the phone was her way of communicating, the state radio network NRK reported Monday.

Lars Letnes, of the Nord-Troendelag police district, said a call came through to the 113 medical emergency number at about 1 a.m. Sunday. The switchboard operators tried to talk to the caller, but heard only a gruff, barking sound.

"They were afraid someone needed help and was trying to say so, they asked for assistance from the police," he told NRK.

The police went to the house, rang the doorbell and woke up 24-year-old Aleksander Elden, whose family owns the four-month-old Norwegian Elkhound (search).

"It could only have been her that called. She was the only one there," Elden told The Associated Press by telephone, adding he found the puppy lying on the floor next to the phone.

The police took the confusion with a sense of humor.

"In our log, it says the son in the house couldn't see that the dog was in any pain and concluded that she had probably dialed the wrong number," said Letnes.

Please Give Me a Harsher Sentence

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Ruben Ramirez, 45, was disappointed when he got an 8½-year sentence for bank robbery.

Ramirez told a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank he had a gun, then sat by the front door and waited for police to arrive Aug. 23. He carried out his plan in order to be assured of a life prison term under the state's "three strikes" law.

He invited the teller to sound the alarm after showing her he didn't have a gun after all, and later said that to police and lawyers.

He also said he was broke, unable to find work and had recently moved to Yakima from California after his wife divorced him. As it turned out, he had been away from California for 17 years.

On Thursday, it turned out his prison term calculations were off, too.

Shortly before he was set to be sentenced in Yakima County Superior Court, lawyers in the case learned that because of a legal quirk, his three armed-robbery convictions in California in the early 1980s counted for only one strike in Washington state.

It seems Ramirez was convicted of the second and third offenses in California before he was found guilty in the first. To trigger Washington's "three strikes" provision, an offender must be convicted of violent crimes on separate occasions before a new strike is counted.

So he still has one to go, and that bothered Judge Susan L. Hahn, who sentenced him to the top of the standard range.

"If you want to go prison this bad, what will you do in the future?" Hahn asked.

Ramirez did not reply.

Boy Finds $100 in Toilet Paper

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (AP) — What appeared to be nothing more than another roll of toilet paper in the boys' restroom turned out to be a bankroll for fourth-grader Cody Yaeger.

That's because Cody discovered a $100 bill neatly folded and tucked inside.

The position of the bill — and the pristine condition of the toilet paper roll — left Jamestown Elementary Principal Jack DeLeeuw wondering if the bill was rolled in from the start.

"It's as if someone at the factory put it in there purposely," DeLeeuw told The Grand Rapids Press for a Saturday story.

DeLeeuw also said he was impressed with 10-year-old Cody's integrity after the boy took the $100 directly to his teacher.

"I didn't think it was right to keep it," Cody said.

DeLeeuw said he checked with school staff and called leaders of a congregation that meets at the school on Sundays, but no one claimed the bill. So it looks like it's going to Cody.

DeLeeuw said school policy requires staff members and students to turn in found items to the school office, but if the owner cannot be located in two weeks, the finder can claim it.

Cody said he doesn't have big spending plans, except maybe tickets to a West Michigan Whitecaps minor league baseball game.

"Maybe I'll give it to my Mom," he said.

Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

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